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America’s goods and services trade deficit grew sequentially for the third straight month in November. The 6.80 percent monthly rise pushed the shortfall to $45.24 billion – its highest total since February’s $45.26 billion. Leading the increase were record monthly deficits in manufacturing ($80.75 billion), high tech goods ($13.53 billion), plus the great shortfall in oil in current dollars ($6.02 billion) since August, 2015 ($7.07 billion). Largely as a result, the merchandise deficit of $66.63 billion was the largest since March, 2015 ($70.40 billion). More encouragingly, the services trade surplus ($21.39 billion) was its largest since December ($21.57 billion).

Overall goods and services exports fell sequentially (by 0.24 percent) while their imports rose (by 1.06 percent) and hit another post-August, 205 high. Big monthly merchandise deficit increases were registered with the Eurozone (up 18.56 percent), and Korea (88.22 percent). And the November increase in the real non-oil goods (Made in Washington) portion of the trade deficit to a five-month high of $59.30 billion indicates that the trade drag on feeble recovery-era growth is set to increase.

Here are selected highlights of the latest monthly (November) trade balance figures released this morning by the Census Bureau:

>The U.S. goods and services trade deficit rose in November by 6.80 percent, from a downwardly adjusted $42.36 billion to $45.24 billion – the highest such total since February ($45.26 billion).

>The increase was spearheaded by new record deficits in manufacturing ($80.75 billion) and high tech goods ($13.53 billion), and the biggest oil trade gap in current dollars ($6.02 billion) since August, 2015 ($7.07 billion).

>In addition, the overall merchandise deficit of $66.63 billion was the greatest such total since March, 2015 ($70.40 billion).

>Also contributing to the overall rise in the November trade deficit – an 18.56 percent sequential move up in the merchandise trade gap with the Eurozone (to $12.64 billion), fueled no doubt by a weakening currency; and a stunning 88.22 percent jump in the goods deficit with South Korea (to $2.40 billion).

>The November manufacturing trade deficit was 4.90 percent higher than October’s $76.98 billion level, and slightly higher than the previous all-time high of $80.43 billion set in August.

>November manufacturing exports dropped by 5.41 percent sequentially, from $90.91 billion to $85.99 billion, but imports dipped by only 0.68 percent, from $167.89 billion to $166.74 billion.

>On a year-to-date basis, the manufacturing trade deficit stands at $792.30 billion, and is running 3.51 percent ahead of last year’s record pace.

>January-November manufacturing exports are down 6.31 percent year-on-year, while imports are off only 2.01 percent.

> The record high tech goods trade deficit of $13.53 billion hit in November obliterated the old record of $11.72 billion, set in November, 2012, by 15.44 percent.

>High tech goods exports sank by 8.93 percent on month, to $27.79 billion, while imports rose by 5.37 percent. Their $41.32 billion level was the highest since October, 2015 ($41.38 billion).

>Year-to-date, however, the high tech goods deficit is still down 5.80 percent from last year’s levels.

>November’s $6.02 billion current-dollar oil trade deficit was the highest such total since August, 2015’s $7.07 billion total. This figure was also 5.60 percent higher than the October level.

>Yet the oil trade deficit year-to-date ($50.45 billion) is still fully 36.06 percent lower than last year’s January-November figure.

>The higher November merchandise deficit with the Eurozone stemmed from a 10.39 percent in U.S. goods exports to the troubled region, whose currency keeps weakening versus the U.S. dollar, and a 0.72 percent bump up in American goods imports.

>Year-to-date, the Eurozone deficit is still down 3.47 percent from last year’s levels.

>The near-doubling of the U.S. goods deficit with South Korea, a free trade agreement partner of merica’s since 2012, reflected a 10.93 percent decrease in U.S. merchandise exports and a 13.80 percent increase in American imports.

>Year-to-date, the merchandise deficit with South Korea is running 0.56 percent higher than last year’s total.

>One of the few bright November-specific bright spots in the trade report was came in services. Its long-running surplus increased 2.54 percent on month, from $20.86 billion to $21.39 billion. That total was the sector’s best since last December ($21.57 billion).

>Yet a cause for concern is the year-to-date services surplus. At $226.58 billion, it’s currently 5.84 percent lower than last year’s January-November figure ($240.63 billion).

>The combined U.S. goods and services trade deficit for 2016 stood at $453.99 billion – 1.06 percent lower than at this point last year.

>Overall U.S. exports fell 0.24 percent sequentially in November from a downwardly revised $186.28 billion to $185.83 billion. Overall imports increased nearly five times faster – from a downwardly revised $228.64 billion to $231.07 billion. That level was their highest since August, 2015 ($231.26 billion).

>Year-to-date, overall exports are off 2.72 percent while imports are down by 2.42 percent.

>A 5.69 percent monthly rise in the November real non-oil goods trade deficit indicates that these trade flows remain a major drag on the current, historically feeble American economic recovery.

>This Made in Washington deficit – which is heavily influenced by U.S. trade agreements and related policy decisions – had been narrowing lately, with its growth-subtracting on the recovery down to 16.05 percent of the cumulative improvement in real gross domestic product as of the third quarter.

>But in November, it hit its highest level ($59.30 billion) since June ($60.76 billion).

>The publication of next month’s first full-year 2016 trade data will permit a preliminary fourth quarter calculation to be made.

>The American merchandise trade deficit with China declined in November by 1.96 percent, from $31.11 billion to $30.50 billion.

>U.S. goods exports to China’s still healthily growing economy fell by 4.56 percent on month in November, while goods imports were down 2.71 percent.

>Year-to-date, this China shortfall is running 5.90 percent behind last year’s record pace.

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